Imagine IT as a factory. Imagine walking through the IT factory and seeing that Windows software management is the combination of tasks, workers, and machines seeking to transform the raw materials piling up at Goods Inward (software releases, patches, and tickets) into packages that can be distributed to endpoints (locations, endpoints, and users).

Factory Devops Flow Chart

However, in the real world, this factory can go really wrong.

  • Goods Inward pile up in a queue of software releases not deployed, patches not applied, and tickets not handled. The size of this neglected queue has a financial cost that can be measured (TODO / DevOps).
  • In the middle, the manufacturing is run by overworked and under-resourced Windows Sys Admins who do their best with an ad-hoc, haphazard and inconsistent process.
  • Goods Outward isn’t a well-managed repository, it’s a mish-mash of shared drives, USB sticks, and -- gasp -- DVDs. Stuff gets lost, duplicated, and often requires rework which is a cost to the business, essentially like throwing cash out of the window.
  • Distribution is manual, usually "sneakernet", with Sys Admins having to “walk the floor” and install packages by hand on endpoints. This process is adhoc, prone to mistakes, and very slow and inconsistent.
  • The targets/endpoints become out of date and their users become frustrated. A failure of the IT factory is the root cause of Shadow IT.

In the middle of this painful situation, you’ll often find an IT hero performing Sys Admin heroics to keep things going.

IT hero performing Sys Admin heroics

You can easily recognize them:

  • They are involved in everything like that's a good thing (it isn't).
  • They complain about the size of the Goods Inward queue -- "let’s trim the queue by skipping releases, patches, and prioritizing tickets."
  • They complain about the system's difficulty, such as the tools they have, and how they operate in a hazardous environment.
  • They have to help with distribution which takes them away from fixing the other areas they complain about, in fact, they see a day trip to a remote office as a break.
  • This Sys Admin is a hero to some, but disliked by others who see them as an anthropomorphic personification of the poorly performing factory.

This is what Edward Deming meant when he said: "Bad systems beat a good person every time". Our hero might not be to blame, but it transpires they are the weak link. Specifically, the Windows Sys Admin is often the constraint in the system they work in.

In the novel, The Pheonix Project, the IT hero was the character Brent who was on the critical path of every IT project. But he couldn’t cope with all the Goods Inwards, so everything ground to a halt. That stopped the flow to distribution, which meant customers didn't get their stuff, and sales plummeted.

In the context of the Theory of Constraints, Brent was the constraint. If you want to know where to start to fix a system, then start with the constraint: in our imaginary failing factory, we need to help the Windows Sys Admin to fix the Windows software automation process to fix the factory.

This is exactly what Chocolatey’s Quick Deployment Environment (QDE) was created to do - by adding QDE and automating the Windows software management process, you automate the factory and free up the SysAdmins who have more time to spend proactively improving the system instead of fighting fires.

Quick Deployment Environment Architecture

Learn more about how we can help on your Windows Automation Journey -

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